One of Nigeria’s foremost goalkeepers, Emmanuel Okala, on Monday said the Super Eagles first choice goalkeeper, Karl Ikeme’s illness was not an end to his career.
Ikeme who plays for Wolverhampton Wanderers in the English Championship was diagnosed of acute Leukaemia during pre-season testing. The club announced his condition on July 4.
Okala, who spoke to the Newsmen in Awka, said that he was deeply saddened by the development.
He urged Ikeme to be strong at this moment of trial while assuring the goalkeeper of his kind wishes for his quick and total recovery.
“I am not happy about Ikeme’s sickness, he has great prospect as a complete goalkeeper and he has done well for the period he was in goal for Nigeria.
“My family and I are praying for his quick recovery, I understand it is a treatable sickness, so it is not yet over.
“He has to be strong and see beyond this present challenge, we still need him, and we still need his services in the Super Eagles.
“This is the time Nigeria and managers of football should rally round him, we must help Karl to come out of this condition,’’ the veteran goalkeeper said.
Okala, popularly called “Man-Mountain’’ in his playing days, noted that situations such as this also presented itself so that other players in the team could get the opportunity to prove themselves.
He urged the technical team and players not to lose focus with what has happened but rather, take it as a challenge to do more for the country.
“Things like this always happen, people can become sick, others can get injured and there can be disciplinary action against any member of the team.
“This is the time that others can make great impression and permanently takeover.
“My advice is that there should be seriousness on the part of everybody; other goalkeepers in the team should convince us that they are equally good or even better.
“Any player can attain any height in football, they are not just playing for Nigeria, it is an opportunity for them to announce themselves to the world through the national team,’’ he said.